“It’s been a good year.” –  Mike Broadwater,

first year superintendent   

By Chuck Gibson 

LOVELAND, OH (June 6, 2022) – It was Wednesday evening, May 26, 2021 when the Loveland School Board officially announced Mike Broadwater would be the new Superintendent for Loveland City School District (LCSD). With just over one year past since that announcement, his first full school year as a school superintendent started has come to a close. 

Mike Broadwater, LCSD Superintendent showing his Loveland Spirit (Chuck Gibson)

In truth, Mike Broadwater has been in education for over 30 years including the most recent past serving as an assistant superintendent at Forest Hills Schools. His 30+ years in education have always been focused on teaching (in fact he plans to teach a class this summer), but he learned a lot along the way. He brings those experiences and lessons learned to the job at LCSD every day.

“It didn’t seem like a first year because I’ve had so many varied experiences at my prior district,” said Broadwater. “I think it prepared me for this. The biggest thing is the community has been awesome.”

Broadwater says Loveland is a special community. It is that community, that tight-knit closeness of the community which makes it special from his point of view. From day one, even the parade through downtown Loveland, he saw “everybody is a Tiger, everybody’s wearing orange”. He sees Loveland as a very special place where people show a lot of pride and have high expectations.

“That’s good, that means you’re in good class with high expectations,” Broadwater said. “The first year couldn’t have gone better.”

Getting out and getting to meet people, and getting to know the kids is a big part of it for Broadwater. He says the kids have been “awesome”. His speech at the recent high school graduation ceremony included comments about how the students have impacted the community.

LHS students, Superintendent Mike Broadwater and 3’s for LIFE sponsor Art Jarvis delivered 2,000 + food items to LIFE Food Pantry March 2, 2022 (Provided)

“I said in my graduation speech how much community service our kids did with the Food Pantry, Dog Park, and just everything to make the community better,” said Broadwater. “It’s good; it’s been a good year. Everybody has been really supportive.”

The community of Loveland has high expectations for the school district. Broadwater had high expectations coming in to his new role as Superintendent for LCSD. His excitement for coming to Loveland was palpable in a profile interview with him last June. Mostly his excitement centers on the kids and always staying focused on doing what is best for the kids. 

Even confronted with pandemic issues at the start of the school year, he maintained a positive focus on the students and is confident any concerns were all for the best of the kids.

“If you told me we would have the pandemic and we’d be sitting where we are, I’d be very pleased,” Broadwater said. “For me, it’s all about the kids. That’s why we’re doing this. The last couple years got a little more adult-centric than kid-centric because of the pandemic.”

This year they were able to get parents back into the schools. They were able to hold a student body assembly which one of the school administrators pointed out to him was the first assembly ever for the second grade kids. Think about that. Because of the pandemic restrictions, these second grade students had never been in an assembly before.

“I’m very pleased with the first year,” said Broadwater. “I think we’re set up for a very good year.”

What were the highlights for him in this first year as Superintendent for Loveland Schools?  There are many, too many to keep up with if you begin listing all of the academic accomplishments of the LCSD as a whole. You can look up the statistics. Broadwater instead talked more about the “extras” including extra-curricular activities and the extras which come from the staff. 

Loveland High School All Girl Show Choir – Allure (Photo Credit Carol Hall)

“The staff, they are all in for our kids,” he said. “When I say it (Loveland) is a special community, over half of our staff lives in Loveland. As our staff goes, so does Loveland and vice-versa. Everybody is all in taking care of kids.”

 There were events which occurred in Loveland outside of the school buildings where he saw the students and staff step up to help. One example he cited was when a family lost their home to a fire, the staff and students responded with help before he could even ask. Schools are more than reading, writing and arithmetic and the Loveland staff shows that with the extras.

“We do very well in state assessments and the ACT. We are one of the best in the State of Ohio,” Broadwater explained. “That is our job, but we do more. Any time there is a kid in need, our staff is there to take care of the kid.”

Once COVID restrictions loosened, it became hard for Broadwater to keep up with everything the staff had going on for the kids. There was so much happening beyond the three R’s every day. Spirit club was giving to LIFE Food Pantry. Hope Squad is helping the students take care of one another. He was able to attend the Leukemia Lymphoma Society-Student of the Year (LLS-SOY) Gala and witness the success of the Loveland Students of the Year campaign to raise money and awareness for LLS. He saw the Show Choirs perform in the Show Choir Nationals on stage in Nashville as they proved to be among the very best in the nation.

“These highlights are not academics. They’re all the extras,” said Broadwater. I could give you all kinds of academic highlights.”

Evan Osgood right after accepting NHS Scholarship Award during Gala in Washington, D.C. (Photo Credit Leigh Vogel)

At the start, it was about communicating, building trust and building relationships with the community. It is the same for the staff and students in the school buildings. It is about building relationships. Broadwater recognizes there is a certain kind of relationship in the classroom, but those extras are a way to build another kind of relationship with the students and staff. A kid may talk to a teacher about things happening outside the school, they may talk to a coach at an after-school practice.

“Building those relationships; that’s how you take care of each other and take care of kids,” Broadwater said.

Some not so positive things can happen during the course of the school year. Sometimes kids make poor choices.

“Our kids feel comfortable enough to let the adults know,” Broadwater continued. “Those relationships with kids are very important.”

It’s been a good year, but not one without challenges. The subject of mental health for students remains a concern. The Hope Squad is a big deal and makes a huge positive difference at Loveland Schools. Tied directly to the topic of mental health is the fact this year the students and staff of Loveland Schools saw the senior custodian and a bus driver pass away related to COVID. Broadwater also faced the challenge of a transitioning Board of Education. November brought an election of new board members who took their seats on the school board January 1, 2022. Broadwater took a very pro-active approach meeting with nearly all the candidates before the election and delivering a unifying and focused message no matter how it turned out.

“It’s been really good,” he said. “No matter how the election would have gone, when you’re respectful and keep students at the center of what you’re trying to do, usually you get some good stuff. Right now the board is really good about supporting kids and supporting staff. They know how good the staff is.”

2nd grade poetry winner Brody Baker gets a helping hand from Mike Broadwater after reading his poem (Chuck Gibson)

Superintendent Mike Broadwater tries not to think too much about the past, but rather tries to remain focused on what he has learned. His focus on putting the kids first remains an absolute constant in every conversation with him.  He did recall his #1 goal to achieve coming into the year was to build trust and communicate. To accomplish those goals, he wanted to get out and meet the people of the community and he asked for a communications director. The board gave him Andrew Setters as Communications Director. Weekly Superintendent Updates, Tiger Talk emails and Newsletters have all improved communication with the community. There is no question Mike Broadwater has been visible and built trust within the community.

“The only message I would say is thanks,” Broadwater said. “The parents have been phenomenal, the kids are great, there’s no better staff in the state, there’s none better when it comes to caring for kids. I know if our adults who don’t see kids or work with kids were able to come in and work with our kids they would be amazed.”

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